Chelsea shook off their Japanese jet lag as an early second-half blitz brushed aside Monterrey 3-1 to set up a Club World Cup final against Corinthians.
The European champions did not get out of second gear in the opening 45 minutes of their semi-final at a half-empty Nissan Stadium, Juan Mata's 11th goal of the season giving them the edge. They came out flying for three minutes after the break, Fernando Torres scoring his fifth goal in eight days inside 20 seconds, with Darvin Chavez putting through his own net soon after.
Aldo de Negris did grab a stoppage-time consolation for Mexico's CONCACAF champions but Rafael Benitez's men barely broke sweat otherwise against in match that proved as one-sided as predicted and did not trouble the goalline technology being used in Yokohama either.
Interim Blues boss Benitez lived up to his promise to field a strong team, although he sprung one major surprise by starting David Luiz in midfield for the first time. It proved a comfortable baptism for the Brazilian, who shot just over from 25 yards inside four minutes and produced a superb sliderule pass for Eden Hazard two minutes later.
Oscar's chest control then let him down from a good Hazard cross and Branislav Ivanovic really should have scored when he volleyed Mata's corner wide.
After 17 minutes Mata opened the scoring. Monterrey gave away possession and Ashley Cole put the ball on a plate for Mata to sidefoot home.
Chelsea were allowing the Mexicans back into it as the game drifted towards half-time but their biggest concern looked to be a return to the doldrums for Torres, who was struggling even to control the ball despite the confidence boost of four goals in two games.
It took less than 20 seconds of the second half for all that to change, the excellent Hazard getting round the back before squaring for Torres to score via a huge deflection, the first time he had netted in three successive games since his £50million move from Liverpool.
Barely two minutes later and it was game over, Torres's brilliant low cross finding Mata, whose ball back across goal hit the unfortunate Chavez and trickled in.
Di Nigris saw a shot deflected wide as Monterrey pushed for a consolation, which the striker got in stoppage time when he beat Petr Cech from a narrow angle.
- Sports & Recreation
- Fernando Torres
- Juan Mata